Top 10 Things We Learned At E3 2016

E3 is amazing. It’s come a long way from the Consumer Electronics Show of 1991, where SEGA were forced to display inside a tent, past a bunch of porn promoters, only to have the rain leak all over their brand new Genesis system. Nowadays it’s the industry’s leading show, where once a year companies from around the globe descend upon the (much grander) Los Angeles Convention Centre and are besieged by tens of thousands of journalists, fans and industry bods, all eager to learn what they should be excited for next.

2016 was no exception, giving us loads of spectacular looking games and devices to look forward to. But that’s all been covered already (check out GameSpew’s coverage). Instead, I’m going to look past the big banners and flashy demonstrations and see what we might have missed. What did we learn that the industry hasn’t directly told us? Well, for starters:

10. EA don’t learn

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Before 2016’s impressive showings, E3’s history was peppered with some fairly diverse conferences. Konami’s cringe-inducing 2010 display, Sony’s infamous 2006 combination of extremely high Ps3 launch prices, their “Giant Enemy Crab” meme creation and Kaz Hirai failing to excite us about “Riiiiiiiiiidge Racer, remember that one?” for the PSP. Oh god, it hurts just thinking about it…

Even after those we got Ubisoft’s drunken Jamie Kennedy berating the audience for not laughing at his “jokes” and Ubisoft persistently encouraging us to travel back in time with them, led by the painfully awkward Mr. Caffeine and his wavy arm technique I found so awkward that, even if it was an actual way to go back in time and give myself the lottery numbers, I still wouldn’t do it.

As one of the industry’s most hated companies, seen by many as a hulking behemoth, sucking the life out of games and money out of wallets, EA should really think about re-branding. Still, rather than trying something new or interesting like engaging the audience, for better or worse, like Aisha “What’s your favourite meme?” Tyler at recent Ubisoft conferences or walking in with the shadow of Crash Bandicoot like Shawn Layden for Sony, the EA reps chose to stand at the front like lecturers. Not even cool ones like the teacher from Good Will Hunting, but like the boring one from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

It felt like EA were addressing their own teams, rather than millions of gamers around the world. This saw us greeted by a man who then spoke in our direction for what felt like an hour, before name dropping Battlefield 1 like he had a celebrity friend. What did the world’s largest games developer’s conference, actually offer? Titanfall 2, Mass Effect and a FIFA story mode. Thanks, EA.

9. The inside of Hideo Kojima’s mind is really, really weird

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Like as weird as being able to extract a sheep from a warzone using a balloon or as weird as Mailing Fission after the famous purple stuffed worm in flap-jaw space with the tuning fork does a raw blink on Hari Kiri Rock. I need scissors! 61!

For those of you who may be unfamiliar, that’s an actual quote from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. It’s not even out of context!

Of course, that’s not to say that this (questionably sane) mind hasn’t brought us one of the longest running, highest rated and best loved series of video games of all time, because it has. In fact, the Metal Gear Solid franchise is even considered by GameSpew to be one of the Games That Changed Our Lives.

No, Hideo Kojima is quite clearly a genius, but the trailer for his upcoming collaboration with The Walking Dead actor Norman Reedus called Death Stranding was another level of odd. Don’t get me wrong, given Kojima’s previous games (Zone of the Enders, Metal Gear/Solid and P.T) this is bound to be a massive hit, but are we all likely to understand it? Who knows? Possibly GameSpew‘s own writer, Ed, who recently asked “What on Earth is going on in Death Stranding’s trailer?

All I know, however, is that a naked, half-handcuffed man on a beach, surrounded by dead fish, attached to a baby via a presumably imaginary, digital umbilical cord before he notices tiny, black, inky hand-prints appear down his legs is one of the most peculiar things I’ve ever seen, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be great.